Second LA Teacher Arrested for Allegedly Fondling Student

The arrest follows the case of Mark Berndt, charged with felony child molestation counts involving 23 students

By Jonathan Lloyd and Lauren Steussy
|  Wednesday, Feb 8, 2012  |  Updated 10:35 AM PDT
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Teacher Had Been Accused Before

Mark Berndt worked at Miramonte Elementary School for more than 30 years. He was arrested Monday and charged with felony molestation involving 23 students.

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Former Berndt Student Says She Saw Misconduct

Nadine Martinez Rodriguez, who had Mark Berndt in 4th Grade, says she witnessed inappropriate conduct. She says she was scared to tell the Principal, but her classmates tried to tell

Teacher Had Been Accused Before

Mark Berndt, the LAUSD teacher accused of lewd conduct, had been investigated in the early 1990s. A former student says her classmates tried to tell the principal in 1990.
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A second teacher removed from the same school at which Mark Berndt -- the man charged with lewd acts against 23 students -- worked for more than 30 years has been arrested and booked on suspicion of fondling two girls in a classroom.

The teacher, identified as Martin Bernard Springer, will be terminated for inappropriate contact and touching of students, according to Superintendent John Deasy.

"As an educator and a father, I’m appalled and sickened by the allegations against this teacher," said Deasy.  "The District is working closely with the entire Miramonte community to deal with the terrible trauma that has arisen as the result of the arrest of Mark Berndt earlier this week and today’s arrest of Martin Springer."

The 49-year-old Alhambra man was booked on suspicion of lewd acts on a child. Bond was set at $2 million.

The case against Springer will be presented to the District Attorney for consideration of felony charges of lewd acts upon a child.

The allegations involve two 7-year-old girls were were allegedly fondled in a classroom during the past three years, according to authorities.

Child-abuse investigators were informed by the district late Thursday night, according to the sheriff's department.

Also Friday, an attorney announced that he has been retained by the parents of a victim in the Berndt case. Brian Claypool plans to file a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Unified School District on the girl's behalf.

Locally, a San Diego fencing coach was arraigned on Thursday. He pleaded not guilty of allegedly carrying on an inappropriate relationship with a student.

Mark Berndt, who worked at Miramonte Elementary for more than 30 years, is jailed on $23 million bond. He is accused of felony molestation involving 23 children, ages 6 to 10, between 2005 and 2010.

On Thursday, it was revealed that a complaint was made against Berndt in 1994. The alleged act occurred in September 1993, but was not reported to officials at Miramonte Elementary School until the following January, said Lt. Carlos Marquez.

The school notified the sheriff's department, which opened an investigation. Charges were not filed in that case because of insufficient evidence.

The Berndt case came to light after a film processor provided 40 images of children to authorities. Film processors are required by law to report possible cases of child abuse.

The images depicted blindfolded children in a classroom with tape over their mouths. Some images showed the former teacher with his arm around the children or hand over their mouths, according to investigators.

Berndt, of Torrance, was removed from the school after the investigation began about a year ago. He was arrested Monday.

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